Before we had kids - ok, before we had our third kid, I swore that I would never drive a minivan.  It's not that I find them 'so uncool' - frankly I was just terrified that I'd fail miserably at driving something that big.  I'd never driven anything but smallish sedans and minivans all seemed like cruiseliners in comparison.  But when baby #3 came along, we realized that we couldn't safely fit 3 car seats in my old Volvo (besides it had a nasty habit of stalling out in the middle of intersections), so we began the search for a more 'family friendly' vehicle.   After extensively polling our family and friends and spending a little time on the lots, we decided to buy a Honda Odyssey. 

I didn't realize just how much I love my minivan, however, until it went out of commission (van + black cow at night = 2 weeks in the shop).  I got the knack of driving a longer car in just a couple of days (in fact, it's zippier than my old sedan was by far) and most of the time I forget that I'm driving a Mom-mobile.  In my opinion, here are some of the van's best features:

1) It fits a TON of car seats.  We had no problem installing all 3 seats in our car, despite the fact that two of them are big, bulky convertible seats.  There are 3 seats with LATCH capability and 5 total seats that support the back harness strap.  (I've heard that some nicer models of the Odyssey also have an optional 8th seat which also accommodates car seats).
2) Drink holders everywhere.  I didn't count, but I'm estimating that our car has slots for 10-12 bottles or cups.  Which is great because we take drinks with us everywhere and were always running out of places to set them in my old car.  Then the passenger seat would get covered in spilled milk and the car would start to stink - what a mess.  No problem with that in the Odyssey! 
3) Tons of storage compartments.  There are 4 glove-box/storage cubbies in the front of the van and one on each side in the back. Plus two large storage slots in the floor (great for holding seldom used jumper cables and jacks).  The doors also have lots of slots for keeping maps, umbrellas, loose change and the like.  No more loose items rolling around while we're driving!
4) Giant trunk.  Of all the vans we looked at, the Odyssey had the most room in the back.  We can easily fit a double stroller, diaper bag, toys for the park, several bags of groceries, some blankets AND all our luggage for a weekend away.  And somewhere in there we've got a spare tire as well. 
5) Safety.  The Odyssey has a stellar safety rating in its class.  We tested this out a bit when my husband ran into that cow I mentioned.  Sure, the van was damaged, but my husband barely felt the impact (and don't worry, the cow walked away stunned, but unharmed).  I feel a lot better now about any other fender benders we might find ourselves in - this little van can take a beating!

I have only two grievances with this vehicle. 
1) The bucket seats aren't very comfortable for a small woman.  The headrests push on my neck uncomfortably (especially if I'm wearing a ponytail) and make me slouch.  However, I haven't ridden in a new (i.e. made since 1990) car that didn't have that problem and it's easily solved with a nice soft pillow behind my back.
2) The back row can be frustrating for car seat installation.  I'm a big fan of the LATCH system.  Click the seats in and be done.  However, while all 3 spots on the back row will take car seats, on the middle spot is LATCH equipped.  Unfortunately, if you install a seat in the middle of the back row, the back harness of the car seat will bisect the trunk to reach its clip.  Which means all luggage (and enormous double strollers) will have to be maneuvered around the harness strap to get them in and out of the van.  A pain, but certainly not a dealbreaker.

All in all, the Honday Odyssey is an awesome vehicle.  It handles as well as a much smaller vehicle, gets decent gas mileage and has tons of room for kids, gear, bottles, etc.  We love ours and I cannot wait until we can bring it home from the shop. 
 


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